Around the Region: North Carolina nears end of rural road paving programPublished 10:15pm Thursday, July 12, 2012
A rural road paving program launched in 1989 in North Carolina is running out of roads to pave.
After paving approximately 13,000 miles of roads over the past 23 years, the N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) says it has paved approximately 90 percent of the roads that are eligible for paving in the state. Many of the remaining 1,842 miles of roads that are eligible for paving are in mountainous areas in the western part of the state.
In coastal Onslow County, for example, only 2 percent of roads are unpaved. But, in the 25 westernmost counties, 14 percent of secondary roads remain dirt and gravel.
As the number of miles left to pave has dwindled, some lawmakers have questioned whether the state should continue the program. In recent budget years, some funding has been pulled from the program to go for bridge repair and road maintenance. Still, most lawmakers, particularly those from western districts, say the state should continue the rural road paving until it’s complete.
The program, initiated to improve and pave every state-maintained dirt and gravel road in the state, has brought paved road to the driveways of nearly 200,000 homes. Early in the program, DOT focused on paving roads that served the greatest number of houses. As a result, the paving work reached more houses in the first eight years of the program than it has in the past 15 years. During the first eight years, the paving program served an average of 18 houses per mile of asphalt. DOT’s rural road paving plan for the next two years will serve an average of eight homes per mile. The cost of paving also has gone up over time with rising fuel and asphalt costs. The average cost of paving gravel roads has risen from $250,000 to $350,000 per mile since 2007.
DOT’s upcoming two-year plan calls for spending $130 million to pave 325 miles.
Even when the program is complete, there still will be some unpaved roads in the state. DOT lists 1,927 miles of roads that are not eligible for paving due to environmental issues or landowners’ refusal to grant rights of way.
– source: www.newsobserver.com, 5-27-12
Spartanburg County is not a very healthy place to live, according to residents of the county. A recent survey of 3,197 adults in the county found that most consider the county to be “somewhat healthy,” but they were outnumbered by those who ranked the county as either “unhealthy” or “very unhealthy.”
The survey, conducted by public health researchers at USC-Upstate, found that cancer, obesity and alcohol and drug addiction are the county’s top three health problems. The respondents also identified tobacco use, lack of exercise and poor eating habits as risky behavior impacting the health of the community. About 20 percent of residents in the county lack health insurance, leaving many of the county’s health services out of reach.
The information from the survey will be used to help public health leaders make decisions regarding the allocation of health funding in the county. The group using the data includes the county’s hospital systems, medical college, nonprofits and state agencies.
Following a dismal local health report in 2009, health professionals helped make some improvements in the county. ReGenesis, a nonprofit, local health center, added three new locations, Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine was welcomed to the community and Spartanburg and Chesnee adopted smoke-free ordinances.
– source: www.shj.com, 7-11-12
North Carolina is the fourth best state for business, according to this year’s ranking by CNBC. The Tar Heel State dropped one spot from last year’s CNBC ranking.
Texas took the top spot in this year’s ranking, followed by Utah and Virginia.
The ranking is based on the evaluation of 43 benchmarks in 10 categories: Cost of business, work force, quality of life, economy, infrastructure and transportation, technology and innovation, education, business friendliness, access to capital and cost of living.
North Carolina ranked in the top 10 in three categories, work force (third), business friendliness (eighth) and technology and innovation (ninth). The state’s lowest rankings were quality of life (26th), cost of business (21st) and cost of living (21st).
South Carolina did not fare as well in the CNBC ranking, although it moved up on the list. The Palmetto State moved from No. 37 last year to No. 32 this year. South Carolina’s best rankings came in work force and business costs, while its lowest rankings were in cost of living and access to capital.
- source: Charlotte Business Journal, 7-10-12; www.scbiznews.com, 7-11-12
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel has begun hiring to fill more than 500 full- and part-time positions that were added after the state allowed Vegas-style, live dealer games at the casino. A job fair is scheduled at the casino on July 25.
The new positions are in a variety of areas, including valet, housekeeping, security and beverage service.
– source: Asheville Citizen Times, 7-8-12
AVX, a manufacturer of electronic an interconnect components, plans to invest $14 million and create 279 new jobs over the next several years in Greenville County.
The company is expanding its corporate headquarters, which it moved to Fountain Inn in 2009. AVX plans to complete renovations at the former Mita building to handle increased production.
AVX, which produces capacitors, resistors, filters, timing and circuit protection devices and connectors, has 24 manufacturing and customer support facilities in 15 countries.
– source: S.C. Department of Commerce, 7-5-12
Belk Inc. said it plans to open a new eCommerce center in the Upstate that will create 124 jobs over the next five years. The $4.5 million center in Union County will be used to fulfill online orders.
The new center is expected to begin operation next June.
– source: www.wyff.com, 7-3-12
George and Rich Hincapie have purchased La Bastide, a French-inspired inn that was part of the Cliffs Community.
Rich Hincapie and his brother George, a world class Tour de France competitor, stepped in to buy the property in northern Greenville County when Cliffs’ owner Jim Anthony ran into financial problems with the Cliffs developments.
Hincapie said they want to provide a destination for high-end athletes, cyclists, tri athletes, mountain bikers and runners. They said they plan to add a pool to attract triathletes, and they are working with Greenville County to extend the Swamp Rabbit trail to the La Bastide property.
When the inn opens, the Hincapies say it will allow athletes to stay overnight, eat at the restaurant, rent equipment and use the training facilities.
– source: www.wyff.com, 7-10-12